Vail Daily letter: Enough with studying the I-70 traffic problem |

Vail Daily letter: Enough with studying the I-70 traffic problem

Nate Cummings
Vail, CO, Colorado

Traffic is a pain, it’s only getting worse, and a long-term solution is needed. I recently read that $50 million has been spent on studies without any real results. Is anyone else frustrated by this? I sure am, so I’ll give you the condensed version of my study for free.

Denver is now in the process of building citywide light rail, Denver International Aiport included. A monorail is fundamentally incompatible with this. They are two very different types of trains.

No one will be lured away from driving if they have to switch trains somewhere out in Golden every time. They would rather drive, and that solves nothing. Five billion dollars on a system would be wasted if it doesn’t save time over driving. Therefore, the new system simply has to be high speed light rail.

Now all we have to do is figure out how and more importantly, where, to build it. Anyone who knows any Colorado railroad history knows that the Front Range is a pretty serious pile of rocks in exactly the wrong place for railroad construction. There is no pass straight west of Denver under 12,000 feet, and an efficient high speed rail line cannot handle the same grades and curves of 1-70.

But building rail over the range has been done, in 1906 actually. The route is there, and it is doable. I am certain of it. It does not run alongside I-70 the whole way. It can’t. It has to be much straighter and with gentler grades than that.

We know how to build it. We have for over 100 years. Now, however, we have vastly better track and signal technology, better construction techniques and faster, safer, more comfortable and more powerful trains.

So enough with the “feasibility” studies. A double-track main line to Vail is beyond feasible. It won’t be cheap, but neither would any other, less realistic solution.

Let’s stop studying the problem and start figuring out how to pay for the solution.

Nate Cummings


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